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Gig Review: Motley Crue + Alice Cooper, Brisbane

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Motley Crue + Alice Cooper + Hammerhead
Brisbane Entertainment Centre
19 May 2015
Review and photo by Shaun Watson

It’s been one of the wildest rides in rock history without question. Literally filled with sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Motley Crue have survived it all, with a few speed bumps along the way. 2015 sees the original bad boys of rock close the curtain on what has been a legendary career. The saints of Los Angeles descend onto the Brisbane Entertainment Centre for one last epic event, bringing with them Alice Cooper and Hammerhead.

The Tasmanian rock machine known as Hammerhead came out to a roar from the crowd as they took to the stage as the opening act for this monumental event. Wasting no time, the lads kicked into high gear from the outset. Blasting their brand of pure rock fury to the masses. If people hadn’t heard of the name Hammerhead before, they sure as hell know about it now.

After all these years, Alice Cooper still manages to reinvent himself and capture the imagination of the fans with his stunning performances. Tonight is no different. The curtain falls and the legendary Alice Cooper with cane in hand, struts onto the stage along with his supporting cast.

First impressions count, and this crowd had to strap themselves in for one hell of a ride! Opening tracks are crucial to any set list to set the tone for the entire show. Department of Youth quickly followed by No More Mr. Nice Guy was a brilliant double hit combo to kick off proceedings. Alice Cooper, acting as ringleader, continues to strut around on stage as if it truly was his own, commanding the attention of the fans while engaging with his fellow band members.

His overall energy, stage persona, interaction with his band and not to forget his trademark powerful voice has not faltered over the years. Combined with the blistering guitars and thunderous drumming from his band, this really was the ultimate rock show that fans of both Motley Crue and Alice Cooper could appreciate. The ultimate classic, Poison, rang out loud and clear throughout the venue having fans sing along to every word. This was followed by the brilliant Dirty Diamonds, which included quite an impressive drum and guitar solo. Now what would a rock show be without a solid drum solo? This gave Alice the perfect opportunity to change costumes and return with a huge snake draped around his shoulders while performing yet another classic, Welcome To My Nightmare.

Costume changes were all part of the theatrics, which Alice Cooper is famous for. The entire performance was one continuous horror rock stage show with all members playing their parts to perfection. The horror theme continues during Feed My Frankenstein, which sees Alice being strapped to an electrocution device, they throw the switch, sparks fly everywhere with a huge Frankenstein emerging from the smoke, stomping around and towering over the entire band on the stage. This show was nothing short of amazing and clearly age has not slowed Alice Cooper down whatsoever. Bringing the show to a close was the classic track, Schools Out, featuring a unique inclusion of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall. It was a classic way to finish the show and a perfect example of how performance art incorporated into a rock show is such a powerful, exciting and entertaining combination.

“And pray to the saints of Los Angeles!” The words Motley Crue front man Vince Neil sang out to the fans to kick-start their final ever Brisbane show. The stage was set for an epic concert event that oozed the typical Motley Crue attitude that the guys have been known for. True to form, the Crue didn’t disappoint, creating the ultimate party atmosphere picking up where Alice Cooper left off. The Los Angeles bad boys delivered what was essentially a greatest hits show, which included a couple surprise inclusions along the way.

Armed with his trademark bass, Sixx displayed that rogue attitude that many dedicated fans have grown to know and love. Many fans are well aware of the limited movement capabilities of the man known as Mick Mars but that didn’t stop him from performing at his best. Showing a lot more movement that I had seen from him in previous years, which was great to witness. Tommy Lee’s thunderous drum stylings were on point, serving as the solid backbone to the whole Motley Crue sound.

The show featured a brilliant mix from the different eras from Wild Side, Same Ol’ Situation through to the more recent MF Of The Year. Vince took time out to acknowledge the Crue’s musical influences throughout the years, which lead to their balls out version of the iconic Sex Pistols track Anarchy in the UK, which I still rate as one of the greatest versions ever produced. Green pulse lines radiated from the big screens on either side of the stage, which lead to the opening drum beat to the legendary track Dr. Feelgood. One of the greatest intro beats ever performed and still sounds as good now as it did back when the song was first released.

Adding to the scenery for not only Dr. Feelgood, but on many occasions throughout the show, were the welcome appearances of the Motley Crue dancing girls. These 2 gorgeous women on stage didn’t just serve as eye candy; they really added that extra ingredient suited to a typical Motley Crue show with their dancing, stage personas and backing vocals. Nikki Sixx would continue his onstage antics strolling around back onstage armed with a flame throwing bass guitar for Shout at the Devil. An awe inspiring sight to behold with the flames shooting high into the air and in turn, setting alight his custom pentagram microphone stand which was hanging down from the ceiling. His backing vocals got a little tricky due to the fact that the mic itself was still ablaze. The flames on stage continued to burn through yet another classic Don’t Go Away Mad, which always draws a loud sing along from the fans.

The rails were in place for Tommy Lee’s brainchild, the “Cruecifly” rollercoaster drum solo, and hanging high above the crowd with the anticipation building throughout the night. Unfortunately this would be a cruecifly fail, due to mechanical issues. Which was a shame but did not take anything away from the overall Motley Crue experience. With the Cruecifly put to rest, it was on with the show with Mick Mars taking centre stage for his unique guitar solo.

The stage lighting enhanced his performance creating that broody vibe which was a great change of pace. Live Wire kicked the show back into high gear. It appeared that Motley Crue spared no expense in the effects department with any shortage of fire and pyrotechnics. More classics were to follow in the form of Too Young To Fall In Love and the always brilliant Girls, Girls, Girls. The attention quickly turned back to the top hat wearing Mick Mars, who worked his magic one more time as the unmistakable intro for Kickstart My Heart came screaming from the speakers sending the crowd into a frenzy. It’s just one of those tracks that generates pure excitement from beginning to end. Keeping with the theme of the night, more fire and pyro exploded at the closing moments of the show. Leaving their fans hungry for one last song before they ride off into the distance. Their prays were answered. Wielding spotlights, the four wild men of rock made their way through the walkways, past their beloved fans and heading toward the small stage situated in the middle of the entertainment centre for one last song. Visible on this stage, stands a grand piano, which can only mean one thing. Tommy Lee takes his place behind the keys and plays the intro to Home Sweet Home. They could’ve easily finished with Kickstart My Heart but this was a more fitting finale. It began as a delicate rendition of one of their greatest songs. Tommy Lee ventured back to his drum kit to continue. As I was watching them perform, the secondary stage began to rise high. My attention, like many others, had then turned back to the main stage to see playing on the two big screens a video montage of the career of Motley Crue. That combination gave me goose bumps and I’m almost certain that I wasn’t the only one. Having grown up listening to Motley Crue, like all the others in attendance, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the emotion of the occasion. The memories of listening to the cassettes borrowed from friends as a kid then finally buying my own copies on CD. The video clips, live shows and backstage antics were visual highlights playing on these screens, making for such a powerful and memorable finale.

Once that final note was played and the cheers from a standing ovation rang out through the venue, the original bad boys from Los Angeles known as Motley Crue banded together, took a bow and left through the narrow walkways, passing their legion of loyal fans one last time. Indeed, all bad things must come to an end, even when it was all so good.

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